On the 6th September 2023 a Prisoner escaped from Wandsworth prison and this has been widely reported in the media. The POA did not release an immediate statement as we wanted to speak to our Wandsworth local POA branch committee. That has now been completed. Whilst there is an ongoing investigation into this escape it would be wrong to speculate in issues surrounding that incident

POA National Chair Mark Fairhurst stated:

“Wandsworth is one of the largest prisons in the country and is overcrowded and under resourced. The chronic staffing shortages and lack of adequate training for staff highlight the need for an urgent review of how our prisons are run. We await the results of an internal investigation so we may ensure this is not repeated.”

POA General Secretary Steve Gillan stated:

“No one ever wants to see an escape from Prison but since 2010 this union has been on record as saying cuts have consequences. You cannot take out 900 million from the budget with reduced staffing levels up and down the country and expect the Prison Service to operate as if nothing has happened. Government needs to take responsibility for the decimation of the Prison Service with less staff and more prisoners and Wandsworth is a typical example of what life is like for serving Prison Officers operating in a stressful and violent workplace with inadequate staff levels caring for over 1600 prisoners at that establishment”.

The POA want an urgent Royal Commission not just for Prisons but the whole criminal justice system otherwise issues are just going to get worse.





For further information, contact:

POA Press Office                                                 020 8803 0255 Option 7

Representing over 30,000 Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers, the POA is the largest UK Union in this sector, able to trace its roots back more than 100 years.